The Ukraine conflict, peak cheap gas and the MH17 tragedy
by Matt Mushalik, originally published by Crude Oil Peak | JUL 31, 2014
For 8 years now there are problems with Russian gas flowing to and through Ukraine. Even Europe – where gas production peaked 10 years ago – has been affected. The fact is that the era of cheap Russian gas is over. That is why Russia can no longer afford to supply Ukraine with discounted gas. This has impacted on cash strapped Ukrainian governments and exacerbated ethnic fault lines.
Fig 1: Languages and ethnicity in Ukraine
In order to become less dependent on Russian gas exports the Kiev government had issued exploratory licenses in January 2013 to drill for shale gas, both in the West (Oleska) and the East (Yusivska). Irrespective of whether shale gas is economically viable or environmentally sustainable it is a tragic coincidence that MH17 traversed parts of exactly that Eastern shale gas area which had become a war zone where participants on the ground may not necessarily be aware of this energy context which is the focus of this article.
In this graph, a shale gas map from the EIA has been superimposed on a google map.